Johan August Arfwedson

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Johan August Arfwedson.

Johan August Arfwedson (born January 12, 1792 on Skagersholms bruk , Västergötland province , † October 28, 1841 on Hedensö ) was a Swedish chemist. In 1817 he discovered the chemical element lithium .


Johann August Arfwedson received his school education in private lessons on the Hedensö estate in Södermanland, where he and his family lived. In 1806 he began studying mountain sciences at Uppsala University . After graduating, he began his work at the Royal Institute of Mining Science and became a member of the Stockholm Mining College. There he met Jöns Jacob Berzelius and received further training.

While analyzing the mineral petalite (and soon afterwards in other minerals) Johann August Arfwedson discovered the element lithium in the form of a lithium compound. Isolation was only achieved in 1818 by Humphry Davy and William Thomas Brande using electrochemical methods. He also worked on the extraction and production of uranium (published in 1822) and published on ores and minerals such as chrysoberyl .

In 1825 he married the noble Sara Sofia von Ehrenheim .

In 1841 the Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded him the gold medal in recognition of his discovery of the element lithium. The mineral arfwedsonite was also named after him. From 1828 he was a corresponding member of the Académie des sciences .


A mineral described by Henry James Brooke (1771-1857) in 1823 was named arfvedsonite in his honor .

Since 1997 the Society of German Chemists has awarded the Arfvedson-Schlenk Prize to scientists from Germany and abroad for particularly outstanding work in the field of lithium chemistry. It is also named after the pioneer of organolithium chemistry Wilhelm Schlenk .

Winner of the Arfvedson Schlenk Prize

The prize has been awarded every two years since 1999.


  • Johan August Arfwedson . In: Herman Hofberg, Frithiof Heurlin, Viktor Millqvist, Olof Rubenson (eds.): Svenskt biografiskt handlexikon . 2nd Edition. tape 1 : A-K . Albert Bonniers Verlag, Stockholm 1906, p. 44 (Swedish, ).

Individual evidence

  1. ^ List of members since 1666: letter A. Académie des sciences, accessed on October 2, 2019 (French).
  2. ^ Arfvedsonite . In: John W. Anthony, Richard A. Bideaux, Kenneth W. Bladh, Monte C. Nichols (Eds.): Handbook of Mineralogy, Mineralogical Society of America . 2001 (English, [PDF; 83  kB ; accessed on April 20, 2019]).
  3. ^ Arfvedson-Schlenk Prize. In: Albemarle, accessed May 16, 2019 .
  4. Prizes and awards. In: Retrieved April 24, 2019 .